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March 09, 2023

Rita's to add gummy bear-flavored water ice flavor, frozen coffee drinks to its menu

Customers can pick up the new additions for free during the company's first day of spring celebration on Monday, March 20

Food & Drink Water Ice
Rita's Water Ice Spring Expansion Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Rita's is releasing a new gummy bear flavor and a line of frozen coffee drinks this spring ahead of a planned expansion across the Midwest, including more than 40 new franchise locations set to open by the end of 2023.

As Philadelphia prepares for warmer weather ahead, Rita's Italian Ice and Frozen Custard is preparing for its much-anticipated water ice giveaway to celebrate the first day of spring. 

The water ice company, headquartered in Trevose, Bucks County, is launching a new gummy bear water ice flavor to coincide with its annual springtime promotion on Monday, March 20. The new flavor is the first of many additions to the Rita's menu, including a line of frozen coffee drinks coming this April, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.

Any customer who walks into a Rita's location on March 20 can pick up a free water ice. Customers who use the Rita's mobile app can use the promo code "SPRING23" from March 13-20 to enter for a chance to win free water ice for a year at any store location. 

"I really do believe that with our product offering, some of the things that are happening, people are excited to come out," Linda Chadwick, CEO of Rita's, told the Philadelphia Business Journal. "We're going to see the lines, I think, on the first day of spring." 

The new flavors and products lines are rolling out as Rita's prepares to expand its franchise locations further into the Midwest and southern parts of the country, adding at least 40 locations in Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma and Illinois by the end of 2023.

A spokesperson for Rita's confirmed the expansion and growth plans but could not immediately comment on the new flavors or whether Pennsylvania would be getting any new stores. 

Rita's, which was founded by former Philadelphia firefighter Bob Tumulo in May 1984, is entirely franchise-owned and operated. The growth is at least partly attributed to Mid-Atlantic natives moving to Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. 

The company has attempted to modernize its traditional walk-up structure in recent years, selling frozen treats on third party delivery apps and expanding its inventory of drive thru locations, including one that is set to open in New Jersey in April. 

Rita's is also hoping to open new locations in other non-traditional spaces following successful openings at Rivers Casino in Philadelphia and BWI Airport in Maryland last year.